What is a merit badge?
A merit badge is an award that is presented to a scout when he completes the requirements for one of the available subjects. The merit badge program is one of scouting’s basic character developing tools. Earning merit badges give scouts the kind of self confidence that comes only from overcoming difficult obstacles to achieve a goal.
How do you open a merit badge blue card?
The scout must request a blue card from the Merit Badge Coordinator via email or verbal request. The Merit Badge Coordinator will get the Scout Master’s approval on the blue card, and tell the scout who is the counselor for that merit badge. The scout should talk with the counselor before beginning any work on the merit badge. This is to ensure the scout is on the right track to complete the requirements and get the counselor’s approval.
Who is responsible for tracking the merit badges?
The scout is responsible for maintaining and keeping the blue card while he is working on the merit badge. Once the counselor has signed off that the merit badge is complete. Then the blue card will be turned into the Advancement Coordinator. The Advancement Coordinator will documents the merit badge in the troop system, and report that to the local district office.
What is the merit badge process for the scout?
- Pick a subject and talk with your Scoutmaster or Merit badge counselor. Read the requirements of the merit badge.
- Select a buddy or join a class. You must have another person with you at each meeting with the merit badge counselor.
- Talk with the counselor and tell them that you want to earn this merit badge. The counselor may ask you to explain what is expected of you and start helping you meet the requirements. You should always discuss your plan to accomplish the requirements before starting any work. This will ensure your counselor will approve.
- Work on the merit badge requirements. Ask your counselor to help you learn things to accomplish the requirements. Remember it is the scout’s responsibility to meet the requirements based on his work and effort. The scout is expected to meet the requirements as they are stated – no more and no less.
- Show your work to the counselor in person so they can sign off on your requirements.
- Earn the badge after your counselor as signed off on all your requirements.
What do I have to do to be a qualified merit badge counselor?
Merit badge counselors must be a member of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). You must have approval from the local BSA council.
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Be proficient in the merit badge subject by vocation, avocation or special training.
- All volunteers are expected to complete Youth Protection Training (YPT), and be a member of the troop committee.
- Be able to work with scout age boys.
- Complete and submit the BSA merit badge form 33405, and Adult application authorizing a back ground check.
What is the role of the merit badge counselor?
Your task is to be satisfied that each scout who comes to you meets all the requirements for the merit badge per BSA. In this sense you are the examiner. Your larger role lies in coaching and helping the scout meet the challenges of the requirements. You can help make him aware of the deeper aspects of the subject through knowledge and experience.
- Follow the requirements of the merit badge, no deletions or additions, ensuring that the advancement standards are fair and uniform for all Scouts.
- Have a buddy present with each Scout at all instructional sessions.
- Renew your registration as a merit badge counselor annually.
What is the role of the parent in the merit badge process?
The parent should be supportive and help the scout learn and grow. The parent should let the scout enjoy the sense of accomplishment from their own work effort. This will teach the scout planning, execution, and self confidence. It will sometimes provide an opportunity for the scout to learn lessons from failure in a safe environment.
- A merit badge counselor can sign off on their son’s work towards a merit badge that they are approved to teach. This should be done in conjunction with a scheduled class or activity.
- There is no “double dipping” with work done towards advancement and merit badges.
- All work on merit badges must be done after the blue card is open. No retroactive credit for items completed in the past.
- There is no specific deadline on completing a merit badge. Blue cards are good until the scout turns 18.
- If the merit badge requirements change while the scout is working on the merit badge. The scout should follow the requirements that were in place based on the date of when the blue card was opened. The scout may decide to use the new requirements. It is the scout’s choice, and his alone.
- A scout can work with more than one approved counselor towards a merit badge. It is the scout’s responsibilities to have each counselor sign off on the blue card for the requirements they approved.
www.usscouts.org/meritbadges.asp to see current merit badge requirements and obtain workbooks.
Troop 12990 Library of merit badge pamphlets
Boy Scout store has all the merit badge pamphlets to purchase
There are also several “apps” that can be purchased from iTunes, Android, etc that allow you to track rank and merit badge advancements. They also show the current requirements, and some have the ability to track progress.